Theuda kept close and copied Dillo’s legs. Tiredness stalked through his body and sent him tripping. Then at last, there where the bank rose high, he smelt wood-smoke. He looked about: but tree and river alone were there.
He shook his head.
‘Dillo!’ he called at the emptiness. ‘Dillo!’
A hand touched him on the ankle and the earth spoke.
‘Here! Down here!’
With his mind struggling against it, the hand led him down a hole. It dropped shaftlike and opened round a bend into a lair.
Somewhere in Northern Europe in prehistoric times a man is prompted by repeated dreams to destroy his family and embark on a quest for what he senses to be his truth. After many days’ travelling, deep into a vast forest, he is captured by a band of men dedicated to the worship of a deer god. Although eager to be accepted and to become part of the group, he soon comes to realise that the all-male society has its weaknesses. For the forest’s women, who live apart on an island in the river, seek equality with the men but are denied it by them. He finally comes to see that only a union between the two parties can resolve the conflict—and at the same time this realisation points the way for him in his own search for wholeness.
Read the first chapter for free, here.
Faber & Faber
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